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What is a PoE Switch?

Author: Apogeeweb
Date: 16 May 2022
what is poe


Ⅰ Introduction

Ⅱ What is PoE?

Ⅲ What is a PoE Switch?

Ⅳ How does a PoE Switches Work?

Ⅴ Types of PoE Switches

5.1 Number of PoE-enabled Ports

5.2 Network Speed

5.3 Managed or Unmanaged

5.4 LCD Display Option

5.5 PoE Budget

Ⅵ Benefits of PoE Switches

Ⅶ Limitations of PoE Switches

Ⅷ Applications of PoE Switches

8.1 Low Watt PoE devices

8.2 High Watt PoE devices

Ⅸ PoE Switch VS. Non-PoE Switch

Ⅹ PoE Switch VS. PoE Injector

Ⅺ Thing to Consider When Choosing PoE Switches

11.1 How many ports do I need?

11.2 How much speed will my POE switch provide?

11.3 What type of redundancy will I need for my network?

11.4 What level of technical support will I need?

Ⅻ Frequently Asked Questions About the PoE Switch

Ⅰ Introduction

The large number of devices utilized by industrial applications such as transportation, public facilities, and manufacturing automation will result in disordered cables. With industrial devices growing increasingly power-hungry, PoE technology gains favor among users for its ability to offer more power while reducing the number of cords necessary. This post will explain what a PoE switch is, why you should use one, and how to utilize one.


Ⅱ What is PoE?

PoE, or Electricity over Ethernet, is a technology that allows an Ethernet cable to supply power. Thus, power sourcing equipment (PSE) can simultaneously transport data and power to powered devices (PD) via a single connection. On network switches, PoE is available in two standardsIEEE 802.3 af/at. The former original PoE standard was created in 2003, and it offers PDs with a power budget of 15.4 W. (12.95 W available for accessing). The newer PoE+  /PoE Plus standard, introduced in 2009, has a power capacity of up to 30 W (25.5 W).


What is PoE

What is PoE?


Structured cabling can also be used to transport electric power via Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) technology, which is one of its other advantages. PoE is useful for equipment like wireless network repeaters or IP security cameras that are frequently positioned high on walls or ceilings, far from the nearest power source. They can use a single Ethernet cable for voice, data, and power when using PoE.


What is PoE? Power over Ethernet Explained


Of course, adopting PoE simplifies device installation while also lowering associated costs. There is no need to run additional wires or install extra power outlets. PoE uses lower voltage than mains voltage, making it safe to use; nonetheless, it can still damage equipment not meant to use it, therefore installation must be done carefully.


Ⅲ What is a PoE Switch?

PoE switches are one of two types of PoE implement PSEs: endspan switches and midspan PoE injectors. A switch is a device that allows network devices to connect with one another. Power over Ethernet functionality is implemented into a PoE switch. This means that network cables can be used to power devices.


What is a PoE Switch

What is a PoE Switch?


A PoE switch supplies electricity that can be used to power other devices connected via Ethernet cabling. If your network contains dispersed switches, PoE pass-through switches are also an option. These are powered by PoE from a central source, but they can also power endpoint devices such as cameras or phones.


Ⅳ How does a PoE Switches Work? 

Because of its basic design, a power over ethernet (PoE) switch configuration is straightforward to grasp. The switch has many ethernet connections to ensure that devices linked to it receive steady power and network connectivity. These switches can be configured in any of the following ways:


How do POE switches work?


Mode A Configuration: In this mode, the switch sends both power and data over the same wire.


Mode B Configuration: In this mode, the switch distributes power and data via separate cables.


The majority of industrial PoE switches have 5 or 8 ports, but non-industrial PoE Ethernet switches can have 8, 24, or 48 ports.


Ⅴ Types of PoE Switches

PoE switches are classified according to the following characteristics:


5.1 Number of PoE-enabled Ports

PoE switches can supply four to 48 PoE output ports, which are sometimes known as PSE(or "Power Sourcing Equipment") ports.


5.2 Network Speed 

The majority of Power over Ethernet switches offer Gigabit speeds (1000 Mbps) to connected devices. However, Fast-Ethernet (100 Mbps) is still available, which is sufficient for many PoE edge devices.


5.3 Managed or Unmanaged

A managed PoE switch may do much more than just direct traffic and power devices to fulfill more complex network requirements. A managed PoE switch, among other things, can partition network traffic into groups and provide considerably more visibility into the network's state, connected clients, and power condition.


5.3.1 Managed PoE Switch

Used for: enterprise networks and data centers

Benefits: offer full management capabilities and security features


Managed switches offer advanced network security, control, and management. They're suitable for businesses that require round-the-clock monitoring and remote access control from a remote location.


Managed switches are the most expensive, but they are well worth the money and pay for themselves over time. These switches' scalability allows networks to expand.


Advanced functions include:

  • prioritizing user traffic
  • partitioning a network
  • connecting different types of networks
  • monitoring traffic as it passes through the system.


Managed switches can improve network performance and resource consumption. Because administrators administer resources via a text-based command-line interface, some advanced knowledge is required to set up and run.


5.3.2 Smart or Hybrid PoE Switch

Used for: business applications such as VoIP and smaller networks


Benefits: offers no-frills management, security features and costs less than managed


Smart switches are similar to controlled switches, however they have less features that may be accessible via the Internet. Setup and operation do not require highly trained personnel. Their interface is simpler than that of managed switches.


They do provide features like as Quality of Service (QoS) and VLANs.


They are ideal for VoIP phones, tiny VLANs, and workgroups in environments such as labs. Smart switches allow you to configure ports and create virtual networks, but they lack the sophistication to support network monitoring, troubleshooting, and remote access.


5.3.3 Unmanaged PoE Switch

Used for: home networks /small business offices or shops


Benefits: plug-and-play, affordable and simple


Because these switches cannot be changed or handled, there is no need to enable or disable interfaces. They're ideal for businesses without IT administrators or junior technologists. They don't have any security features, but they're adequate for use in your house or a small network of fewer than 5-10 PCs.


We recommend going with something more secure if a company handles sensitive information, such as an accountancy firm or a bank.


5.4 LCD Display Option

On the front panel of certain unmanaged PoE switches is an LCD display. These LCD status screens show network administrators real-time power information such as how much power each connected PoE device consumes, the total consumed power of all connected devices, and the total power available. It is also highly important in providing alarms and cautions for potential problems such as overload, high temperature, short-circuit protection, and others.


5.5 PoE Budget

The Power over Ethernet switch's ability to power connected devices is mostly limited by the amount of its power supply, which can range from slightly more than 50 watts to well over 500 watts. This power budget has a direct impact on how much power the switch can give to connected devices per port.


Benefits of PoE Switches

  • Data Collection - Data identifying vacant work spaces and shutting down HVAC and LED lighting services is only one cost-saving example of leveraging data dynamically.


  • Enhanced Productivity - A little-known but much-appreciated bonus is packed within the LED-lighting system; by programming the lights to mimic natural frequencies and spectrums occurring in nature, workers experience heightened awareness, creative surges, better collaboration, and overall work with a greater sense of well-being.


  • Safer Installations - Because PoE Type-3 voltages are less than 60 watts and Type-4 voltages are less than 100 watts, conduits and metal claddings are not required for installation, making connecting and laying cables safe and simple.


  • Installation Cost Savings - It is quite expensive to deliver conventional power to areas where there is none. Assume you wish to install cameras in a section of a warehouse that lacks power outlets. Without PoE, you'd need to engage a certified electrician because a network administrator is unlikely to be able to finish the electrical installation. Anyone, however, can wire network cables (or PoE network cables) from the cameras to a PoE switch using the low-voltage application of Power over Ethernet. Using PoE eliminates the need to build power outlets, electrical wiring, and breaker boxes, saving you even more money.


  • Greater Flexibility - PoE edge devices can be simply installed in areas where there are no power outlets. Those formerly difficult to reach spots can now be accessed with greater ease now that they are no longer limited by the requirement of a standard outlet to function. Installing a PoE network camera on a high wall or roof is no longer a frightening undertaking because you just need one network cable to acquire power and network connectivity.


  • (Remote) Power Management - The ability to access controlled PoE switches over the Internet or local network is a highly useful feature. This access includes the ability to remotely power-cycle failing edge devices. The network camera that has failed or the VoIP phone that has to be rebooted no longer require physical involvement from a person on the premises. All that is required to restart either device is to initiate one through the switch management interface.


  • PoE Watch Dog / Guard / Powered Device Monitor - Some Managed Power over Ethernet Switches can monitor all connected PoE devices and automatically restart a device that has not communicated for an extended period of time. Such a function is very beneficial if, for example, a security camera fails in the middle of the night.


Ⅶ Limitations of PoE Switches

  • Device Compatibility - Although not all devices are compatible with PoE switches, a modest patch in the form of an injector or splitter can frequently resolve this issue:


*Injector - This method links a PoE-enabled network device to a non-PoE device and provides the necessary power.


*Splitter - Power is provided, however it is separated from data and transmitted to a non-PoE device via a separate input device.


  • Physical Distance - Although power is not limited by cable length, data transfer is limited to 100 meters, which can limit operations in larger spaces; fortunately, this limitation is easily overcome with the use of a PoE Ethernet Extender, which extends the limit to 400 meters, making it more palatable for larger enterprises, campuses, and even large retail shopping malls.


  • Power Rates - The power rates for any PoE device are determined by its IEEE 802.3 generation, with four distinct power budgets, as shown below:


*15.4W - accommodates thin clients, biometric access control, and 802.11n (for WLAN communications)


*30.8W - supports RFID readers, Video IP phones, and alarm systems


*60W - can power laptops, information kiosks, and point of sales systems


*90-95W - performs the bulk of the work for video conferencing, televisions, high-power wifi, and larger computer systems


Ⅷ Applications of PoE Switches

Many different devices can be powered by PoE. However, the quantity of electricity required can vary.


8.1 Low Watt PoE devices

  • VoIP and Video Phones
  • IP cameras
  • Wireless Access Points
  • Audio Devices
  • Remote Computer Terminals and Thin Clients


8.2 High Watt PoE devices

  • TVs
  • Computer Monitors
  • Laptops


Ⅸ PoE Switch VS. Non-PoE Switch

PoE Switch VS. Non-PoE Switch

PoE Switch VS. Non-PoE Switch


Non-PoE switches, as the name implies, are standard switches that can only deliver data to network devices. There is no PoE in a standard switch to provide electrical power to end users over Ethernet.


The main distinction between a PoE switch and a non-PoE switch is PoE accessibility. As previously stated, the PoE switch is PoE enabled, whilst the non-PoE switch is not.


You can connect PoE and non-PoE devices to the same PoE switch. Because if no power is required, you can turn off the PoE of the PoE switch and use it as a conventional witch. Non-PoE switches, on the other hand, cannot handle the mixing of PoE and non-PoE devices.


Non-PoE switches can be made PoE ready by adding a PoE injector and powering a few devices. The injector can add electrical power and then simultaneously send data and power to power devices. Users will need one more cable to connect power outlets. If a PoE injector fails in this solution, it only affects one device. However, if the PoE in a PoE switch fails, all PoE devices fall offline.


Ⅹ PoE Switch VS. PoE Injector

Power is delivered via PoE from two types of power source equipment (PSE):


Midspan: These are PoE injectors, which are installed in-line in the Ethernet connection and inject data on the relevant Ethernet cable pairs. PoE injectors contain two ports: one for "data" and one for "data+power" to connect to the powered device. PoE injectors include an AC to DC transformer and can be inserted into a standard power outlet. They are useful when just powering one or two gadgets at a time. PoE injectors are typically passive, which means they always give power when hooked in. This has the potential to damage equipment that is either not designed for PoE or is anticipating PoE at a different voltage level. Reversing the "data" and "data+power" connections is the most common wiring error. PoE injectors should be put in a NEMA enclosure when used outdoors or in other severe situations to protect the cable connections from the elements.


PoE Injector

PoE Injector


Endspan: These are PoE switches that are network switches that also provide PoE power on specific ports. PoE switches are normally active, thus they will only deliver power if they detect 25 k resistance across the associated powered pairs. This prohibits electricity from being given to network devices such as PCs that do not support PoE. PoE switches are often beneficial for bigger deployments requiring the interconnection of more than two devices. There are industrial switches designed for outdoor use or tough industrial locations, although it is normally recommended to place the switch inside a NEMA enclosure to protect the wire connections from the weather. Indoor switches are intended to be put in climate-controlled areas such as data closets and can be configured for desktop or rack-mount operation.


PoE Switch

PoE Switch


The number of PoE devices you need to connect determines whether you use a PoE switch or a PoE injector. Individual PoE devices, such as the odd network IP camera at the construction site or a single wireless Access Point, can be linked without trouble using PoE injectors. When you need to connect additional PoE devices, a PoE switch is a better option. If a new network is being established, using managed PoE switches, which can power all VoIP phones as well as isolate and prioritize voice traffic, is a solid method to future-proof the system.


PoE switches are all-in-one boxes that require no additional appliances to manage both network and power. While a PoE injector can be added to existing networks without changing the switch and can be mounted anywhere, Which one to select is entirely dependent on the exact requirements. As an example:


  • If you only need to power a few things, PoE injectors are ideal. When compared to a PoE switch, the cost is lower.


  • If the PoE in a PoE switch fails, all PoE in the switch fails. However, if a PoE injector fails, it only impacts one device.


  • If you do need to replace a PoE injector, you can simply replace the defective injector without disrupting production elsewhere in the network.


Ⅺ Thing to Consider When Choosing PoE Switches

11.1 How many ports do I need?

Switches range in size from four to fifty-four ports. This decision is based on the number of users/devices supported by your network. Keep in mind that the Internet of Things is still in its early stages (IoT).


The more ports you need, the larger your network will be.


Is there a sufficient number of interfaces to support the company/network as it grows?


You should choose a switch with more interfaces than you require. It is preferable to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. L2 functionalities for managed switches are included in this recommendation.


The increase of the workforce isn't the sole factor influencing network size. Display screens, digital signage, wireless access points, heating and cooling systems, SMART lighting, security systems, and even appliances such as refrigerators are all on the way.


11.2 How much speed will my POE switch provide?

Will 10/100 interfaces suffice?

Gigabit interfaces are incorporated into the majority of PCs and network equipment, and they are quickly becoming the standard. This issue may also fall under scalability if the company/network does not grow but there is a need for quicker links.


11.3 What type of redundancy will I need for my network?

Should I go with a 16-port switch or two 8-port switches?


This is a common question that might be subjective depending on the importance of uptime, financial budget, network administration, and available space. If most variables are not a concern, then use two switches rather than a single switch.


If the entire network is dependent on a single switch and the unit fails catastrophically, the entire network goes down. If one of the two switches fails, just half of the network is offline, but it can still function until a replacement is found.


As previously said, if you are servicing clients with servers that will manage financial or personal data, redundancy is a key component to the operation's success.


11.4 What level of technical support will I need?

How simple is it to set up the move, and is there a local help team in my country if I have any problems?


Make sure you have access to technical support. For certain businesses, not being able to get help when you need it is a deal-breaker, as projects may only allow a limited amount of time to configure/troubleshoot devices.


If the time allotted for configuring/troubleshooting a switch is exceeded, you may need to explore contacting alternative technical support providers inside your country. Be warned: due to time zone differences and language barriers, outsourced support centers may not work.


Determine the level of assistance you will receive ahead of time and plan accordingly. It will save time and increase uptime.


Frequently Asked Questions About the PoE Switch

1. How much power can PoE devices supply?

PoE+ devices can deliver up to 30 watts per port, while PoE devices can deliver up to 15.4 watts per port. However, some power is constantly lost throughout the cable's length, and more power is lost along longer cable runs. The PD's minimum guaranteed power is 12.95 watts per port for PoE and 25.5 watts per port for PoE+


PSEs also have a maximum power budget, which is the total amount of power (measured in watts) that they can give to PDs at one time. Because most users do not demand that much power, most PSEs do not have a large enough power budget to give the maximum potential power to all PoE-capable ports. When purchasing for a PoE-capable PSE, make sure to thoroughly assess your required power budget for all of the PDs you intend to connect.


2. What is PoE+?

The IEEE 802.3 at standard, often known as PoE+. is the most recent update to the PoE standard. The primary distinction between 802.3af (PoE) and 802.3at (PoE+) PSEs is that PoE+ PSEs can deliver nearly twice as much power over a single Ethernet cable.


PoE+ PSEs can power both PoE and PoE+ PDs, but PoE PSEs can only power PoE PDs. PoE+ PDs necessitate more power than PoE PSEs can supply.


3. Can I mix PoE and non-PoE devices in my network?

PoE devices can coexist alongside non-PoE devices in a network, but non-PoE devices cannot power PDs or be powered by PSEs. Non-PoE devices require a separate power supply.


4. What Is the Max PoE Distance? How Can I Extend the Maximum Distance of PoE?

Ethernet cable distances for data and power transmission are limited to 100 meters in standard PoE, whether for IEEE 802.3af (PoE) or 802.3at (PoE+). If you want to increase the maximum distance, gadgets like PoE extenders and media converters can increase the range to 100 meters or more, up to 300 meters.


5. Can I Connect a PoE Switch to Another PoE Switch?

You certainly can. The PSE only supplies power to the PD when it detects that the device is capable of handling it. Because the two PoE switches are both PSEs, they will only be used for data transmission.


6. Do I Need Special Cables for PoE Switches?

No. In general, the Ethernet cables that need be used for PoE switches are determined solely by the data rate of the PoE port; for example, 10/100M can utilize Cat3 or better connections, whereas 1000M requires Cat5/Cat5e/Cat6 cables. In the future, you may need Cat6a or greater cables to deploy 2.5G/5G/10G PoE devices. However, purchasing high-quality Ethernet cables made of oxygen-free copper is never a bad idea.


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